tv Reel America Women Law and Politics - 1971 CSPAN August 11, 2018 9:32pm-10:03pm EDT
much for a thoughtful conversation. our nine week series, 1960 eight: america in turmoil is available as a podcast. you can find it on our website c-span.org/history. the civil rights act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, or national origin. 1971 a panel of five women discuss their rights when their movement was advocating for more changes in american society. this was a series of 10 university of michigan television center programs with the topic titled "girls and women."
girls and women, it images and realities. the university of michigan television center presents a series of programs of the nature and potential of american women. your host is from the department of philosophy at the university of michigan. today's program, women, law, and politics, explores what the loss -- what the law says about women and what women are doing about the law. >> american women have taken increasingly active role in political life over the last century. they worked hard to win the right to vote. many women have worked for candidates and political causes. some have served in elected offices. one can hardly say that today's women dominate as a lead-in in any area of law or politics.
women are still a functional minority though we outnumber the men in our population. recently, a number of women's organizations have called for change. we are going to discuss some of these issues concerning freedom for women in public and private life. we will also look at how women are looking to resolve these issues, hopefully for the benefit of all the people in our country. i would like you to meet my guests, for women who share interests and what american women are trying to do. the representative from the state of michigan to the congress of the united states. a recent graduate from the university of michigan law school. a lecturer at the university of michigan department of political science. assistant professor of history at eastern michigan university. what you think are the most important changes that have taken place since you have been in congress?
>> most important was that added sex to the bill of 1964. this bill was drafted to help negroes. it would have meant that negro women would have been given rights that were not available to white women. therefore, we added sex. was my belief that the drafter believed no woman would get any rights. i think both white and black women were helped by the bill. hundreds of cases have been started amid thousands of complaints that were made. we still have a long way to go. >> i understand you have a study of women's voting rights and patterns. could you tell us a little bit about what you have found? >> from looking at 50 years of female votes, one could say that a woman's vote may be a time bomb in the 1970 election.
that is because the dramatic changes in the lifestyles of women are reflected in the way they vote. to be specific, when women go out of the home and take a job, when women go to college, then they vote. when they stay in a traditional environments they do not vote. that means that in the 1964 and 1968 presidential elections, women for the first time in this country, voted at the same level as men and college women. women who have had even when your college work -- vote at the same levels of men. in the 1964 and 1968 presidential elections they were more active than men in those elections in helping with the campaign. while it has been a slow burn, i would say that predictably, because of these major changes, the women's vote will be heard from in the 1970's as it has not been heard before in this country. >> is there any way of telling
how women vote? the issues that they support? >> statistics are not compiled by sex. what does not register as a man or woman. from 20 years of very good data from research organizations, we know that women perceive issues in a different way. they are less military minded than men. they're much better on civil rights issues. this is reflected in campaigns in which candidates pick that up. for example, john f. kennedy realized early in his campaign that women were not supporting him. they do operate as a block, but it is not perceived by the voting booth as women. there is a marked difference in the way that they receive these. as you get an increasing number of women going to the polls, since they outnumber men, they affect the electoral college. women are concentrated more in cities than on the farm. they affect the outcome of
presidential elections. i believe this is news. candidates better be analyzing data on women better. especially younger women. women from the ages of 21 to 30 behave differently than their mother and grandmother's. this is true in the voting booth. >> we talk a little bit about women in law? does the profession encourage women? many of the difficulties women encounter our legal -- are legal difficulties. >> my experience has not been at -- that the profession encourages women. most men who are lawyers right now do not really believe that women, especially women in law school now, are serious about practicing law and becoming lawyers.
as more women go to law school, especially with my class, which was the first class to graduate a substantial number of women, i think that as more women get out into the field, and make themselves known, and practiced law, i think there will be a changing attitude. right now, the number of women were practicing law is so small that most men don't understand women in law. accept them or encourage them. >> what about the current women's liberation movement? do you see any parallels with that civil rights movement? >> there are a number of parallels. that is not surprising. both of our movements are of oppressed people. another reason that it is not surprising is that the women's
movement is a descendent of the civil rights movement. and very direct ways. the women's movement began in the middle 1960's and a large percentage of the people who made it up were people who had earlier been active in the civil rights movement and to have begun to see that while they were working for freedom of blacks, women within the movement were free. it began than to have a reevaluation of the role within the movement and within society in general. the direct influence of the civil rights movement has. in terms of real parallels, there are a number. one of them would be the fact that the civil rights movement has now become a black liberation movement and has moved from demanding equal access to public accommodation, as it did in 1960, to a much more thorough statement about what black people need. it has expanded to a critique of the whole system of american
democracy and the way that they operate. the women's movement, and a shorter. of time, has done the same thing. it was able to do that because the groundwork for a lot of the critiques have been made by the civil rights movement. i think of the women's movement is now divided in the same way. there are those who would correspond to the naacp and the civil rights movement. they're proposing legal action as one way of bringing women into full participation in society. there are also women in the movement who would be very much in agreement with the critiques proposed by the black liberation movement. there are many parallels. >> what about civil rights? what are civil rights that women do not enjoy? >> i think there certainly are. maybe i should turn it back to martha griffith.
i would like to add one quick note. the 1964 civil rights act, the provision was added as a joke. >> please don't say that. it was not added as a joke. the man who originally offered it thought he was really going to hurt the bill. i made the argument, i wasn't joking. i understood exactly what we do. it was accepted because the people who set their agreed with my argument. you would have given black women rights that white woman never have had. i didn't make the further statement, which i think was quite true. that no one who brought that bill to the floor had ever considered giving any woman any rights. the truth is that black and white women got those rights together. no one who voted that day voted as a joke.
>> i'm sure that they didn't vote is a joke. there was a great deal of levity in the debate. >> the levity stopped when i started speaking. it really didn't work out that way at all. it is a myth that has been put out through this whole country. that it was a joke. every woman who says it again and again really aids the supreme court in making a very erroneous decision. >> can you talk about what the civil rights status of women was before-and-after? >> women don't have any rights. the 14th amendment has never been applied to give women equal rights, equal protection under the law. only the right to vote in the elections and the right to hold public office.
those are the only two rights that the constitution of the united states guarantees us. everything else, she is protected by the laws, the common was of england. she had no rights. this was the first right. one case has gotten to the court -- supreme court under title vii. in that case the supreme court made a very unwise decision. a woman applied to martin marietta, i believe she was in florida. she had five children. they told her they would not take a woman who had children under the age of six. it was a three dollar an hour job. they admitted in court that they would not think of asking a man that question. the man did have children under six. this was a clear case of discrimination. the supreme court in its decision sent the decision back to the lower court for further
information as to whether or not women with children under six were good employees. what kind of nonsense was that? what did that have to do with that women, whether other women were good employees? what the supreme court was really saying was that this woman, who was this all supporter of children, their father had abandonment. it was perfectly all right for her to work at one dollar an hour. no was going to ask any embarrassing questions. when you got to three dollars an hour, that is different. then we will save those jobs for men. >> this brings up the whole area of work and equal pay and equal benefits. social security for example, i think this is another one of your causes. >> the social security law is one of the most inequitable law
that is written by the federal government. a woman pays in on exactly the same basis as a man. until i went on the ways and means committee, if you are out yeare labor force for a even her own children could draw on system security. her husband can't draw yet. she has to be supplying more than half the support before her husband can draw on her wages. at the present time, if a man works two jobs, and pays in social security, and pays above the base, he can take a credit on his income tax. if a husband and wife work together and they pay in on $19,000 and they make a joint return, they can take no credit. yet when they come to draw on
social security, the wife doesn't draw as his wife and then on her own. he takes her choice. she draws either on him or on her own. so a working husband and wife are really supporting those where the wife doesn't work. >> i think the significance of these discriminations is that it makes a parallel, it is not generally known against women, that they have some of discrimination against them legally. the civil rights movement, there has been a kind of awakening. women are beginning to learn that the whole court t scene is highly discriminatory. >> as late as 1968, the supreme court refused a woman married
more than 20 years of the property that the husband had been managing. she has no rights at all. >> i think that younger women, people who are closer to my age, are being radically awakened to the discrimination that is going on. i think especially, the things such as at us now salary discrimination based on sex. i think that a lot of younger women, as they are finding out about this, i have noticed they are not accepting this as much as women have in the past. i think it is a reflection of the growing awareness that has occurred in the last 10 years. as this becomes more generally known you are not going to have
acceptance and the lack of awareness that you have had in the past about the basic inequities in our law. the treatment of women in a variety of situations, especially related to job situations. >> there is a weightlifting law in many states, but it only applies in certain areas. never applies in a retail store. -- itever says that a never says that a 90 pound nurse can't lift a 300 pound man. the answer is different. >> when you added sex to title vii, it did it. i set it on the floor that day. i hoped that it would do it. of course it should wipe them out. >> unfortunately, states have laws that are mixed. >> many have laws that federal
law supersedes. the point to make is that of family supported by a woman is discriminated against as opposed to a family supported by a man. >> women who are housewives and are not employed who are not in priority are still discriminated against legally. it is their whole life. they do not generally recognized that. the protective laws have been used to keep women discriminated against even more so. >> it is even used in the labor movement to keep the equal rights amendment to go in. it is a misunderstanding of the intent of the bill. >> a mrs. perez in arizona only recently brought up a case to the supreme court which she had lost the right to drive her car because her husband had been involved in an accident.
he could not pay the judgment. she wasn't even in the car. when the supreme court considered it, they said that a discharge in bankruptcy, which this family had gone through, had disparaged that obligation and they could no longer take the licenses to drive away. that wasn't even what the decision should of been based on. what right did anybody have to take her drivers license away because her husband had had an accident? >> what about different kinds of property rights? welfare laws? welfare laws discriminate against women? you cannot have a woman living with a man receiving welfare.
>> originally you couldn't have a man in the house, and able-bodied man. that has been changed. you can have that. welfare is a discrimination against women because they were so discriminated against in the job market. >> the amount of money they're getting on welfare is less than they could ever get if they were being employed. >> if you are working for a dollar an hour you cannot provide for your children. >> i have often considered what would happen if my husband died, i would barely be able to support us with childcare. >> if you have less than three children, you would draw social security from your husband. the moment you walk out the door to work, you lose your share of it. that is absolute nonsense.
it would be better if you kept your share and worked. >> aren't there two kinds of changes? the move to a more technological society will make the argument somewhat ludicrous. the fact that women are going into higher education in such numbers, there may be a real change in the next decade. i think that what we are describing is what is happening now, it is not going to be the next 10 year period. we should make a benchmark about the times we are discussing this. i'm optimistic about it. >> it would be interesting to ask both of you what chance do we have of having more women legislators and in office? >> i should defer to you.
>> women are going out to vote in the same numbers as men. they have not gone into political office. they have not been in the professions in which people are recruited for that. half the members of congress are members of law schools. perhaps wanda will belong to an age group which will recruit women to go into politics. certainly the success for women in the country is to get get married and have a happy family. women go into local level politics of vacant still have their fine husband and happy children. this combination of roles is what has happened to a greater extent because it is part time. >> i think that we may find that the general public is a great deal more ready for it than the
structures of the political parties. one of the issues that shows this kind of thing is the abortion issue. survey shows that the general public is willing to accept it but it cannot get through the legislature. the same kind of thing may well be in the case of women in politics. a majority of the population now says they would be willing to consider women as president. that is right. i think it will be a great deal longer before either of the major parties is willing to do that. it might well be that if you took a sample of people who were officers of those major parties you might find a great difference. it would be a very small minority of that group will be willing to consider a woman as president. you do have an opposition from a party structure. one of the things i think i think someshown , surveys have shown were done
in europe -- i presume it would come out similar. when women were nominated for public office, they tended to be nominated for offices where they were token candidates. they were put up the so they could say we had it so and so many women run. the just can't get elected. >> that is right. no other member of my party had won that district. i'm sure the party never anticipated that i would win. >> this is the story of how minorities get the vote. this is the story of blacks being able to register and vote in the south. the same pattern, where they don't threaten the existing pattern of interest. they are able to vote and participate more. >> we are on the verge of a great change. in the 1940's, they went into
the workforce and retreated again. since the pressure is on not to have children rather than to have children, perhaps only one significant change. certainly much less encouraged to have large families. it is a socially commendable thing. >> women are the ones who are pushing for abortion and all the ones who have it as far as they have. >> men are the ones who are legislating on it. >> it is curious, some of the issuents you here on that -- you hear on that issue. >> the women who went to work in the 40's went to work in
factories. during that time, in the 50's, you have educated more and more women. you have a different group of women who were seeking work today outside of their homes. would this not be true? >> that is true. almost all women in america will have graduated from high school in 1970. a much higher proportion have gone to college than ever. 80% of all college-educated women work. the first thing any little girl should know is that they're going to work outside of their home. the dreamworld is over. >> i think that is true. women children and boy children should be brought up to find something they want to do themselves. there will be no hanging on to anyone else. being the source of your self-respect. >> hopefully as the laws become less prohibitive of women working, women will be more encouraged to go work in the workforce. more women will realize the
advantages of having an education, in terms of their ability to get a job in the workforce and to have some say in what goes on in their lives. >> and to have real power in the workforce. rather than simply going to the machine and coming home again. >> interesting jobs is the most attractive ones. the fact that they are being open to women, whether reluctantly or not they are being open to women. law, for instance. medicine, engineering, other professions will be opening more and more to women as women get higher educations and realizing what we are missing out on by accepting a role that was peered them.ordained for
films to explain the causes of world war ii. under the supervision of director frank capra, the u.s. army produced seven films between 1942 and 1945. they are known as the why we fight series. war," which isto 52 minutes and covers the outbreak of world war ii to the pearl harbor attack. it explores the rise of authoritarianism and paints the conflict between the axis and allies as slavery against freedom. it won the academy award for best documentary in 1943.